Firm-Wide blog

Oregon Wrongful Death Suit Seeks $7 Million

By Burg Simpson
June 27, 2013
3 min read

The estate of a man who drowned after the car he was riding in was driven into the Necanicum River in Seaside, Ore., recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the estate of the woman who was driving the car – who also died. The estate also names a tavern in town as a defendant.

The suit, which was filed on behalf of Robert “Wes” MacNeil in Clatsop County, seeks $7 million from Merry Time Museum and Taverns, which operated as Beach ‘N Brew in Seaside, and Pamela Herriges, who operates the estate of Karen Irene Stevens – who had been dating MacNeil for months before the crash, according to The Daily Astorian.

The lawsuit claims that the city of Seaside failed to adequately warn drivers that a ramp at Quatat Park led directly into the river at the time of the crash in 2011. After spending the evening at Beach ‘N Brew, the couple drove through Seaside, trying to find their hotel. Instead, they ended up on the boat ramp, which the lawsuit says was an “unmarked, unobstructed roadway terminating directly into the river in the middle of Seaside’s downtown tourist district.”

The signage that reportedly is on the ramp is “nearly illegible,” the suit says, and a stop sign that marks the beginning of the ramp was blocked by foliage, which is the fault of the city. The lawsuit also says the city failed to install a barrier ramp; reasonably maintain the boat ramp for motor vehicles; adequately maintain signage and warn of the ramp’s dangers; remove overgrown foliage; and foresee that visitors would not expect a ramp in the middle of a town that leads into a waterway.

Additional liability

The lawsuit filed on behalf of MacNeil’s death also claims that his girlfriend at the time was guilty of drunken driving and that Merry Time Museum and Tavern continued to serve her for hours, even though she was visibly “intoxicated and impaired,” The Daily Astorian reported.

It allegedly was obvious that Stevens would then go to her car and injure herself and others, which is why the tavern’s employees are liable. The suit argues they should have ensured the couple got home with a safe driver.

Anyone who suffers injury or has a family member die due to inadequate road signs or markings should seek legal counsel, as drivers should be able to rely on basic safety guides.

Additional resources: Attorneys for wrongful death.

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